Li Congjun, president of China's Xinhua News Agency and executive chairman of the World Media Summit, delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of the summit at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, on Oct. 9, 2009. The two-day summit, hosted by Xinhua News Agency, opened here Friday morning. (Xinhua/Xing Guangli)
Media's Social Responsibility and Role in Public Welfare
--- Speech at the World Media Summit (WMS)
Beijing, October 9, 2009
Li Congjun, Xinhua president
Respected guests, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,
Today, we are delighted to gather for the grand opening of the World Media Summit (WMS). I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you warmly and express my sincere gratitude to all of you.
President Hu Jintao has just delivered an important speech, to warmly welcome friends from worldwide media organizations, analyze the current international situation, demonstrate the Chinese government's persistent policy in support of media exchanges and collaboration, elaborate on the social responsibilities of media organizations and express ardent expectations of this Summit.
These fully demonstrate the high attention Chinese leaders attach to this media summit and the global media industry. President Hu's speech is profound and penetrating. I believe it will be of important significance to this summit, as well as the future development of the world media industry.
I feel rather emotional today. This summit somehow reminds me of a long-past, news-reporting incident. More than 20 years ago, when I was studying for a doctor's degree, I read in a newspaper a whale had been stranded in shallow waters off Bohai Bay near my university.
Local villagers flocked to the beach in order to snatch a piece of flesh from the dying creature and -- when rescuers arrived -- only a carcass was left. I was shocked by the story and felt a stabbing pain in my heart.
How had such an incredible tragedy happened in China, where people -- since ancient times -- believed in harmony between man and nature, and cherished every life? Back then, I thought, that if I were to be a journalist, I would do everything I could to arouse awareness of ecology and environmental protection.
More than two decades after that tragic incident, I became president of the Xinhua News Agency. In March this year, I saw on TV another whale had been washed ashore, this time at Hangzhou Bay where I used to work.
The whale struggled to get back into deep water but all its efforts were in vain. When local fishermen saw the whale, they immediately reported it to the authorities and then quickly began rescue work.
It eventually took 18 people more than two hours to get the whale back out to deep waters. The rescuers, including police and fishermen, raced against time to save the whale, putting their own lives at risk on two boats in danger of capsizing at any time.
This report deeply touched me, and reminded me of the sad scene 20 years earlier.
What was different now about the fates of the two stranded whales? I would say the difference mirrors social progress.
The past two decades have witnessed great changes in peoples' mindsets. China's society has reached a consensus on ecology and environmental protection and is now taking initiatives in these areas. The idea of "man and nature in harmony" is now deep-rooted.
Media have undoubtedly played an important role in this process.
Renowned Chinese environmental scientist Qu Geping, a winner of the United Nations Environment Programme's Sasakawa Prize, says China's environmental protection drive has actually been initiated by the media. Indeed, the media have been a driving force for environmental protection in China.
The Centennial Movement for Environmental Protection, a large-scale program launched in 1993, has improved China's awareness of resources conservation and environmental protection through in-depth interviews and reporting by more than 1,000 reporters over 16 years.
Meanwhile, the Chinese media have stepped up publicity work calling for the building of an harmonious society and a beautiful global environment.
They have kept the public informed about environmental protection measures taken by China's governments at all levels and their achievements, exposed and widely publicized notorious cases involving pollution, and waste and damage of resources.
They have also closely watched and covered the international community's progress in environmental protection.
In so doing, the Chinese media have prompted the effective settlement of a number of environmental and resource issues and promoted environmental protection in China.
Today, environmental protection has become the vogue in China, and green the most popular color among its people.
Environmental protection is an important part of media's social responsibility and its mission to improve public welfare, but the media's role does not end there.
I believe one of the true values of the media is in its use of accurate, objective, fair and balanced news and information services
-- to popularize ideologies pursuing peace, development and cooperation
-- to promote sound and sustained growth of the global economy
-- to facilitate common development of all civilizations through exchanges, tolerance and experiences drawn from one another
-- eventually to accelerate human progress and social development in an all-encompassing manner. We should spare no efforts in these matters.
In the wake of the devastating magnitude 8 earthquake that shook Wenchuan County in China's Sichuan Province last year, Chinese media and reporters were among the first to arrive at the quake zone and served as a special rescue force.
Amid constant aftershocks, they put their lives at risk, shedding tears of sympathy and grief while covering the disaster, rescue progress and monitoring rebuilding.
By so doing, they showed love, care and respect for lives;
Humanely and professionally, they manifested and covered in glory the media's social responsibility and its role in improving public welfare.
At this point, it is noteworthy, media organizations from across the world all responded promptly in the wake of the Wenchuan disaster.
In humanitarian gestures, they published ongoing, lengthy reports about the quake and the Chinese government's rescue efforts, voiced their heart-felt sympathy and rendered valuable support. All these amply and vividly demonstrated the media's social responsibility and role in public welfare.
After the World Media Summit, we, together with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and globally-known media, would launch a 24-hour global media coverage on children on Nov. 20 which is the Universal Children's Day. The project is aimed at promoting global attention to livelihood of children in the world and helping them grow more healthily.
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends!
Nowadays, the global media industry is feeling the dire impact of the worst financial crisis in a century -- and it is taking time and pain to shake off the pressure of the economic downturn.
Meanwhile, information technology, led by digital and networking technologies, have brought about unprecedented opportunities as well as immense challenges in media development.
In the current situation, we need to work even harder to remove obstacles and overcome difficulties in our road to development.
But, despite changing situations and all the difficulties, we must always adhere to, and never abandon the media's social responsibility and its role in public welfare.
For this purpose, worldwide media organizations should enhance communication between themselves to reach consensus, cement cooperation and play a larger cooperative role, and accelerate development so that our respective organizations become more vital.
Only then can we live up to our social obligations and play well our role in improving public welfare.
Society is advancing with the passage of time.
I trust the tragedy of the stranded whale at Bohai Bay more than 20 years ago will never repeat itself at any time, anywhere.
Finally, I wish the World Media Summit great success.
Thank you all!
Xinhua president stresses media's social responsibility amid challenges
BEIJING, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- The world's media must always adhere to their social responsibility and their role in improving public welfare, President of Xinhua News Agency Li Congjun said Friday.
Li made the remarks while addressing the opening ceremony of the World Media Summit, which gathered about 300 representatives from more than 170 media outlets the world over. Full story
Xinhua president calls for global attention to children's livelihood, healthy growth
BEIJING, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- Xinhua News Agency and other world-known media will launch a 24-hour global media coverage on Nov. 20, the Universal Children's Day, to raise attention to the healthy growth of children, Xinhua President Li Congjun announced Friday.
The project is aimed at promoting global attention to the livelihood of children around the world and helping them grow more healthily, Li said at the World Media Summit in Beijing. Full story
China's Xinhua president: media organizations to tap opportunities through co-op
BEIJING, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- China's Xinhua president Li Congjun said here Thursday it is the trend for media organizations to tap opportunities through cooperation in order to expand development.
Li made the remarks when meeting with BBC Global News Director Richard Sambrook who is in Beijing for the media event scheduled on Oct. 8-10. Full story